• comment on a post Since the Storm: No End to Katrina in New Orleans over 7 years ago

    I appreciate your taking the time to go to Chalmette. As I mentioned in your earlier thread, I spent a summer down there in the early 1980s and it was a pleasant, albeit bland, middle-class suburban community. I had hoped from seeing plenty of nice, blue swimming pools on Google maps that the community had rebounded. But I wasn't aware that Google had reverted to pre-Katrina images (even some of their NYC pictures are old) and it is heartbreaking to see the excellent images you brought back.

    The images seem to imply that the economic situation there is still pretty dire and I hope your future posts will include some economic anecdotes from folks you talked with down there. You can't lift yourself up by your bootstraps if your boots washed away in the flood, eh?

    I also appreciate the images of the religious iconography. So much for the line that Katrina was God's punishment on a godless city.

  • I'd like to hear how the employment situation is going down there, especially in the service and (re)construction areas. Many residents of the damaged and unrepaired areas of the city were service sector workers and if they haven't come back, how are the service sector jobs getting filled? Have they brought in people from out of state or out of the country? Has the labor shortage from after the storm returned to the labor surplus that existed before the storm? How hard is it for low-wage workers to find affordable housing? A few anecdotes from waiters, taxi drivers (always a fun chat), small business owners and large business managers down there would help put a human face on the raw numbers.

    A common statement about pre-Katrina NOLA was that it did not have enough economic activity to support a well-rooted population, resulting in the chronic, multi-generational poverty that suddenly became visible after the storm. If that theory is true, the smaller NOLA with its "slums" emptied should be a "better" place...but is it?

    It might also be interesting to contrast the continuing problems in the poorer areas with reconstruction in some of the more middle-class areas. I took a look at the Google map of Chalmette (an eastern suburb where I spent a summer a long time ago) and it appears to be pretty well recovered from some pretty serious flooding.

  • I used the election results because some of those lopsided victories really jumped out at me. The data does demonstrate that not all Blue Dogs are consistently fighting close election battles. While I agree that poll results can be deceiving and are not reliably predictive, they are somewhat more tangible and readily comprehensible than alot of other statistical reductions. And, ultimately, election results are the "bottom line" in politics.

    It would be interesting to add PVI numbers to see how well they correlate. Do you know of any place I can get them without paying an arm and a leg?

  • I'm not sure this is a cause for celebration. If I'd been treated like McCain was treated by Rove in 2000, I'd be looking for the quickest path to a rematch...which this probably was at the time he pursued it. Could he have been a better candidate than Kerry in 2004?

    But like a good authoritarian, McCain always seems to end up doing what he thinks he's supposed to do. And be it fighting in Vietnam or refusing early release or adopting an orphan or hugging Bush or sucking up to the fundamentalists, he always seems to get screwed.

    McCain saluted like a good soldier and will end up a footnote quickly forgotten by history. Shrub never did what he was supposed to do and will be studied for decades as one of the country's most notorious presidents.

    Even though I know it's a myth, I'd still like to believe in a straight-talking politician who says what he believes and doesn't care what anyone thinks. But then he wouldn't be a politician and couldn't get elected.

    Makes me think a little of Bob Dole in '88. Imagine how different the world would be if Dole had gotten elected in '88 or McCain had been elected in 2000. Bad for progressives, but it might have been less cathartic for the planet.

  • Can we infer that if Cooper took a more aggressive stance on ending the war, he might not suffer in '08, and possibly even gain a few votes.

    And if so, do you have any thoughts on what would change his mind?  A noticable increase in calls/e-mail from his constituents? Pressure from major donors? A potential primary challenger?

  • So, from your sense of the district, does his vote last week hurt him? If he were more anti-war but continued to be whatever else conservative Hoosiers like, would he be toast in 2008?

  • Even if a stereotypical "Northern Liberal" would poll in single digits, I wonder if a populist in the Brian Schweitzer or Jim Tester mold would fare better. Someone with a message that government should stand up for the "common good" but otherwise leave us alone.

    And on Iraq, some of the left/right dichotomy may be breaking down. So I wonder if they stayed the same on everything else but voted for a binding withdrawal plan, would that simply reduce their margin of victory or result in a crushing defeat? Might it increase the winning percentage for some?

    This data can't answer those questions, but it does give me some grounds to ask.

  • I agree that 2006 was probably somewhat anomalous and I probably should have included 2004 as well. My point is simply that I (and perhaps some other folks) had this image of the Blue Dogs as a bunch of Dixiecrats barely hanging on to their seats in spite of the "D" behind their names. But in glancing at some of the election results, I was surprised to find that stereotype was only partially correct. Many of those folks seem to have cruised to victory.

    And what initially got me thinking about this was discussions with my anti-war friends about how the Blue Dogs were going against the will of the people as judged by national polls. I'm still inclined to agree with the idea that the Blue Dogs are responding to the will of their specific districts, which is different than the nation as a whole. But I also wonder whether the could afford to spend some of their political capital on more aggressive efforts to end the war. Would it simply shave some points off their margin of victory or would it result in a massive defeat? I'm just askin'.

  • on a comment on Copyright Chaos over 7 years ago

    Grassroots + Politics = MyDD

    Grassroots + Operating System - DRM = Linux

  • comment on a post The End of Apathy? over 7 years ago

    If this turns out to be a long-term trend, I think we'll have to look back and say that the best thing that happened to American democracy in the early 21st century was Bush/Cheney. Reagan and Clinton were so smooth and comforting, we could all just go on with our lives and let the insiders do that voodoo that they do so well. Bush/Cheney woke us up to just how awful government can be when we're not paying attention. I think this campaign has started so early because there is so much disgust with Bush/Cheney and an interest in finding their replacement ASAP.

    That being said, I think this two-year-long campaign can't help but produce a backlash of apathetic exhaustion from the vast majority of Americans who are preoccupied with their lives and not actively involved in politics. Which will give the activists (on both sides) more power. The only question is whether they have more activists than we do.

    It also gives me hope for a second group of fresh reinforcements jumping into the race in the Fall. I think a Clark vs. Hagel matchup in 2008 would be a great contest.

  • Matt, I'm glad you wrote this up.

    I heard this Schoen interview on "To the Point" this afternoon and couldn't believe that I was listening to a "Democrat." Adam was great - got all the progressive points across - but he was outnumbered by the other three people in the discussion: Schoen, some noncommital media research person and a right-wing poli-sci prof that said ABC and CNN are left-wing because most of their news staff are liberals.

    Olney said they tried to get someone from Fox to come on the program but got no response. I wonder if Schoen's Fox connections were unnoticed or ignored.

    "To the Point" is usually pretty good about getting a "balanced" panel of guests and it's a great place to hear the right's talking points without having to patronize their normal media outlets. But this was a particularly difficult show to listen to.

  • comment on a post Details Of New Democratic Plan On Iraq Trickling In over 7 years ago

    Has anyone heard anything from the other congressmen (Woolsey, Sestak, et al) who already
    have plans out there on whether the caucus is going to coalesce around this? DFNYC is trying to drum up support for Nadler's bill (HR 455), but I'm wondering whether part of the negotiation process was figuring out a way to get a bulk of the caucus to sign on to the new proposal.

  • I couldn't agree more. I been listening to the Kennedy/Nixon debate replays on C-Span Radio and it's a stunning contrast to the structure of debates nowadays - substantive questions, fairly substantive answers, both candidates got to the point so no clock was needed. Still plenty of rhetorical BS, but I felt I got a better sense of who those guys were. Also interesting to note how the parties have flipped - Kennedy spoke about the cold war in terms eerily similar to current Repug rhetoric about the War on Terrah (tm), while Nixon was worried about federal control of school curriculum.

    But, unfortunately, I think debates have become a ritual like Valentine's day - something few people really like, but you'd damn-sure better get your girlfriend some roses or you'll be in deep doo-doo. And it is, basically, the only significant contiguous block of prime-time the major networks devote to campaign programming that isn't prepaid ads - which are even less meaningful than the debates.

  • on a comment on Clark On Running Again over 7 years ago

    When there's a full-scale battle underway, you wait for the opponents to beat each other to a pulp and then come in with rested, battle-ready troops and rebuild. At least, that's my guess what he's thinking (And maybe what Cheney was thinking in Iraq?!)

    No insult was intended with the Faux news comment. I should have known better :+(

  • on a comment on Clark On Running Again over 7 years ago

    His biggest selling point is, of course - NATO Supreme Commander. He was in charge of the last war the U.S. "won", yet he understands diplomacy and has extensive diplomatic experience. Barring some kind of miracle, national security will probably still be the major issue well into the next decade...making Clark not only the right guy for the job, but the right guy to take on whichever authoritarian the Republic party decides to throw at us.

    I first saw Clark speak on C-Span in 2003 and have been a supporter ever since. From my perspective, he had plenty of charisma and southern charm with enough gravitas to be taken seriously. I guess charisma is in the eye of the beholder and, no, he's no Al Sharpton...but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

    Yes, his domestic credentials take a back seat to his military background, but his 100 Year Vision, while rather inspecific, is progressive enough for me.

    If all you've seen is his analysis on Faux News, I'd suggest taking a closer look around his website and on C-SPAN before dismissing the support he has among a significant portion of the netroots.


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